Postdoctoral Training Policy
T32 CAM Research Training in Neuroscience and Stress
POSTDOCTORAL TRAINING POLICY
I. Compensation and Benefits
In general, because they occupy training positions, postdoctoral appointees are considered to fall into the "student" category rather than the "employee" category with respect to compensation and benefits.
The minimum monthly stipend for Postdoctoral appointments is the NIH NRSA stipend level in effect on the starting date of the appointment. Payment of stipends at higher rates (or supplementation of stipends) is subject to policies of the funding source (e.g., NIH Grant Policy) and must be approved by the Department Chair (and Training Grant Director if applicable).
This is a full-time research position. Post-docs desiring some time (less than 20%) for other responsibilities including teaching and clinical work need to have it approved by their mentor and the T32 director.
The monthly stipend payment schedule for 2014 can be found here: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/about/services/financial-services/forms/upload/StipendPaymentDatesThroughDecember2014.pdf
To request direct deposit, the form can be found here: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/about/services/financial-services/forms/upload/DirectDepositGRAStipend.pdf
I.2. Health Care
Postdoctoral Appointees and their families shall have access to a comprehensive health care plan consistent with coverage provided to other individuals in similar training positions at OHSU. The basic costs for access to the health care plan will be covered by the individual or institutional training grant or from the Mentor’s research funds.
1) As of January 1, 2008, postdoctoral appointees began participating in the same benefit plan made available to Unclassified Employees at the University. T32 awardees will now receive $7,850 per year for their medical and dental packages. They may elect to enroll in more costly health and dental options, but the NIH T32’s contribution is capped at $7,850. Any additional premiums will be paid by the Postdoctoral appointee via stipend reduction.
(2) Postdoctoral Researchers (appointees paid by the University as employees, not via training grant of fellowship stipend) are also eligible to enroll, at their own expense, in other programs available to Unclassified Employees (short and long-term disability insurance, dependent care spending accounts, etc), and may contribute to the University Voluntary Savings Program (403.b.)
Upon completion of appropriate enrollment forms, benefits begin the first of the month following enrollment. If the postdoc begins work the first working day of the month and turns in the forms at the end of that day, coverage will begin that day.
OHSU does not withhold taxes from or provide advice regarding tax-related issues. If the trainee plans on paying federal income tax on the stipend, then a quarterly estimated tax payment may be useful. The following is NIH’s stance on this issue (from the NRSA Training Grants FAQ page):
Does a trainee have to pay taxes on stipends?
The interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the IRS. NIH takes no position on the status of a particular taxpayer, nor does it have the authority to dispense tax advice. Having said that, some modest guidance is provided in the NRSA Guidelines on stipend taxability. Refer to NIH Grants Policy Statement—Taxability of Stipends (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part10.htm):
Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code applies to the tax treatment of scholarships and fellowships. Degree candidates may exclude from gross income (for tax purposes) any amount used for course tuition and related expenses such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction at a qualified educational organization. Nondegree candidates are required to report as gross income any monies paid on their behalf for stipends or any course tuition and fees required for attendance.
The taxability of stipends in no way alters the relationship between Kirschstein-NRSA fellows and sponsoring institutions. Kirschstein-NRSA stipends are not considered salaries. In addition, recipients of Kirschstein-NRSA individual fellowships are not considered to be in an employee-employer relationship with NIH or the sponsoring institution solely as a result of the Kirschstein-NRSA award. The interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the IRS and the courts. NIH takes no position on what the status may be for a particular taxpayer, and it does not have the authority to dispense tax advice. Individuals should consult their local IRS office about the applicability of the law to their situation and for information on their tax obligations.
I.4. Retirement benefits
Because these are temporary training positions, postdoctoral appointees are not eligible for retirement benefits.
I.5. Holidays, Vacation and Leaves
Appointees receive the same paid holidays as OHSU or, if applicable, OSU faculty employees. In addition, Appointees may take up to 3 weeks of vacation days per appointment year (start date to end date). Scheduling of vacation days must be approved by the Faculty Mentor. Appointees and Mentors are expected to be both reasonable and flexible in making decisions about the student's commitment of time to laboratory work as well as other training-related activities when scheduling vacations. The time period between academic terms is considered to be active part of the training period. Unused vacation days may be carried over from one appointment period to the next. However, Appointees will not receive payment for unused vacation days when their appointments end.
Appointees may take up to 12 days of paid sick leave per appointment year. Sick leave accrues at the rate of 1 sick day per month. Additional sick leave is without pay. Whenever the number of days of sick leave in an appointment year exceeds 12, the Appointee must provide written notification to the Mentor and Training Program Coordinator (and Training Grant Director if applicable) and consideration must be given to whether the Appointee is able to maintain his/her training responsibilities. If it appears that continued leave will interfere with satisfactory completion of the training program, the Appointee may be terminated from the program. A period of terminal leave is not permitted, and payment will not be made for sick leave that is not taken.
Postdoctoral Appointees may take pregnancy, parental or family leave as these terms are defined by the OHSU Administrative Policy Manual. Up to 12 days of such leave may be taken each academic year as paid sick days in accord with the sick leave policy described above. Any additional leave is without pay, unless allowed by the granting agency or funding source. Postdoctoral appointees are entitled to take up to 12 consecutive calendar weeks of pregnancy, parental, or family leave per academic year. Individuals intending to take such leave must provide advance written notice of their intent to the Mentor and Training Program Coordinator (and Training Grant Director if applicable). Extended leave for Trainees is subject to final approval by the granting agency. Postdoctoral Appointees who return from pregnancy, parental, or family leave within 12 weeks will be reinstated at the same stipend level in effect when the leave began.
There may be additional restrictions or requirements for Trainees who receive stipend support from individual or institutional traineeship or fellowship awards from NIH or other sources. Students should consult their training program director and the awarding agency for additional information.
I.6. Travel and Research Expenses
Postdoctoral appointees are allowed up to $1,000 in travel funds to attend research-related conferences or events. There are no funds for study costs. Courses and workshops are allowable expenses if applicable to all T32 awardees. It is expected that some additional funding will be provided annually from both the individual and/or the mentor’s research funds. The department and training programs do not provide funds for moving expenses.
II. NIH Public Access Policy & T32 acknowledgement
The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to published results of NIH funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication. To help advance science and improve human health, the Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication. For detailed instructions on how to comply with this policy, please refer to the NIH website: http://publicaccess.nih.gov/. Andy Fish, the administrative coordinator for the T32, may have additional information about which journals automatically transfer to PubMed Central and which journals do not, thereby putting the onus on you to upload the unformatted word processor or pdf file (not the copy edited or proof) of the accepted article yourself to PubMed Central.
All publications made possible in part by the T32 grant have to acknowledge the grant number, NIH AT002688. NIH also likes a disclaimer so one suggestion is “This publication was made possible by grant AT002688 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NCCAM.”
III. Trainee Citizenship
At the time of appointment to the training program, individuals selected for research training supported by NRSA institutional training grants must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, i.e., in possession of a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or some other legal verification of legal admission as a permanent resident. Non-citizen nationals are generally persons born in outlying possessions of the United States (e.g., American Samoa and Swains Island). Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for Kirschstein-NRSA support. In addition, trainees must be able to commit full-time effort in the program at the time of appointment.
IV. Required Training
Human subject researchers are expected to enroll in the Human Investigations Program (HIP). For Fall term, applications must be submitted by July 16th (this date may vary slightly year to year) and applicants will be notified of admission decisions by mid-August:
All postdocs are also required to take the “Practice and Ethics of Science” course (CONJ 650) and the “Neurobiology of Disease” (NOD) course. All trainees are required to take the 1 credit “Issues in Behavioral Neuroscience” seminar BEHN607 whenever the topic is “Complementary medicine therapies: overview and placebo effects” (currently less than 1 term per year).
If CONJ 650 has already been taken, the ½ credit ethics course CONJ 607 is required.